The first thing to check is what phase and sign the Moon is in on any given day. While planets may stay in a sign anywhere from weeks to months to years, the Moon enters a new sign every 2 to 3 days. The phase of the Moon also changes every few days, completing a cycle from New Moon to Full Moon in roughly 28 days total! Knowing what phase and sign the Moon is in is especially important for determining how the cosmic energy can play out on a daily basis.
There are 8 distinct phases of the Moon that happen over 28 days with the New Moon and Full Moon being the peak points in the phases. While the lunar cycle is 28 days long, the effects of the New Moon carry out for six months until the next time the Full Moon is in the same Zodiacal sign that the New Moon was in when the cycle began. Throughout a short-term or long-term lunar cycle, one can use each phase of the Moon for multiple practices. From occult usage to predictive astrology, the lunar phase always plays a large part!
Starting at the beginning, the New Moon is the first lunar phase. New Moons indicate a new lunar period, both a short-term and long-term one. Short-term would refer to the immediate lunar cycle that occurs in 28 days while long-term refers to the 6-month cycle that is completed once the Full Moon is in the same sign as the New Moon once was in. New Moons are located between the Sun and the Earth, which means that this is the dark side of the Moon facing the Earth. Given its position, this is the lunar phase that can also coincide with a solar eclipse.
During a New Moon, one can use this to set new intentions or manifestations in the Zodiac sign that the Moon is in. It can be a perfect time to kick off a long-term goal, one that can wrap up during the Full Moon 6 months later. The same can go for spell-work as well, especially if the intention is to begin anew. If spell-work is implemented around this time, it may be wise to work with Maiden or Virgin deities.
The New Moon then begins to unfold into a Waxing Crescent as the Moon travels east, the tiniest silver of a crescent is now visible. During this time, the occult take would invoke change. Work can be done, but likely moving in silence, as it would take some time to bring success into light. So, this lunar phase is perfect for taking the first few steps towards the New Moon intentions.
The sliver of the Waxing Crescent eventually gives way to the First Quarter lunar phase, which occurs when half of the Moon is visible. The First Quarter phase indicates that 1/4 of the short-term lunar cycle is complete. Depending on where one is located, the right or left half of the Moon will be visible. No matter what, the First Quarter is the call for action. If the New Moon set the intention, then the Waxing Crescent got the ball rolling, and now the First Quarter is the call to be decisive about where the intentions are heading. It is the perfect lunar phase to course-correct as needed, as it’s still fairly early to adjust as needed.
As the lunar phase progresses, the First Quarter begins to round out, but still isn’t quite full. This phase is the Waxing Gibbous phase, the climax towards the Full Moon or peak point in the lunar cycle. Most of the Moon is now visible in the Waxing Gibbous phase. Waxing Gibbous marks a time to strategizing, as it takes all the information from the prior phases to consider all options before defining the process. The Waxing Gibbous is the lunar period of refinement, as it marks the time to finalize the details for your plans, goals, and actions before setting the game plan in stone.
Peaking in the sky in all its glory, the Full Moon marks the end of the long-term lunar cycle and the mid-point of the short-term lunar cycle. Full Moons are 100% visible in the night sky, no matter where one is on Earth because the Sun, Moon, and Earth are all in approximate alignment. This alignment is similar to that of the New Moon, but unlike the New Moon, the Sun illuminates the Full Moon, which allows it to be visible. The Full Moon can vary in presentation, ranging from a supermoon to a micro-moon. Both super- and micro-moons depend on the Moon’s orbit. If the Full Moon is orbiting closer than normal, then it’s a supermoon. If it’s orbiting further away than normal, then it’s considered a micro-moon. The Full Moon can coincide with a lunar eclipse as well.
Full Moons, no matter what cycle, is a lunar accomplishment. It signifies an ending, a chapter closing, a cycle completing, an accumulation, and overall clarity about the lunar cycle. In the short-term sense, this is the point in which one can mark a halfway point in the 28-day cycle. In a long-term sense, the Full Moon is the 6-month wrap-up. It typically is an ideal time to reflect then release. This can explain why the energy runs high, intuition is on point, and emotions are felt tenfold. If working with deities, consider working with Mother energies and be mindful of what is procured as the magic of the Full Moon is often heightened.
The glory of the Full Moon begins to dip into the Waning Gibbous. The Waning Gibbous is similar to that of the Waxing Gibbous, showcasing a mostly full moon. However, unlike the Waxing Gibbous phase, the Waning Gibbous begins to dive back into the dark side of the Moon. This is why the Waning Gibbous phase is also known as the Disseminating Moon as it refers to a decreased Moon. The energy is the come-down from the high of the Full Moon. During this lunar phase, consider reflecting on the peak of the Full Moon and what came to head.
As the view of the Moon further decreases, the Waxing Gibbous phase eases into the Third Quarter phase. The Third Quarter refers to 3/4 of the lunar cycle being complete and is marked by a half-visible Moon. In essence, it’s similar to the First Quarter but differs as the Third Quarter marks the regression back into the New Moon. If the First Quarter was the time to organize and define the path ahead, then the Third Quarter is the time to organize and define the path back. This is the lunar cycle in which emotions feel stabilized, so it can be a fantastic time for processing what was released and ceased under the Full Moon. It’s the true lunar phase of letting go of what isn’t working. After all, the goal for the Third Quarter is to purge whatever isn’t necessary to begin anew.
The final lunar phase of the cycle is the Waning Crescent or the Dark Moon. With the lunar cycle now in the rearview mirror, the Waning Crescent acknowledges what has unfolded during the lunar cycle. Waning Crescent is the Crone energy in all of its glory, so consider working with the Crone deities and energies around this time.
The Dark Moon begins again with the New Moon, and so, the cycle never really ends or begins, but simply continues.